This page is dedicated to providing news and activity details on what various Sirmoor Rifles Association (SRA) Members are involved with. We hope it will provide an interesting addition to the SRA website. If any SRA Member is involved in anything that others may find interesting then please let either the Honorary Secretary or the Webmaster know:
21 June 2017
Maj Sudan Dewan – Glasgow Gurkha News
Major John Burlison – Treks in Nepal
Major John Burlison – Belize
10 Apr 2017
Maj Sudan Dewan – Highland Joy – Bagging the Munros.
Maj John Burlison – What Of Queen Elizabeth Barracks, Church Crookham Today?
Col Christopher Lavender – View from the Orient.
06 Mar 2017 – A SHORT DESCRIPTION OF THE WORK THAT THE CAIRN TEAM IS CARRYING OUT IN NEPAL
(David and Joanna Thomas are much involved in the CAIRN Trust [www.cairntrust.org] but what exactly is it? Here is a short brief, but do look at the web site as well.)
04 Mar 2017 – MAJ SUDAN DEWAN BEM (1976 – 1974)– VISIT TO KOHIMA
Members will be interested to read of Major Sudan Dewan’s visit to Kohima:
21 Nov 2016 – More News from Christopher Lavender.
06 Nov 2016 – Kadoorie Charitable Foundation (KCF) and Philanthropic Travels in 2015 – Christopher Lavender KCF Director.
Philanthropic Travels in 2015
I thought some Sirmoorees might be interested to know the extent of the Kadoorie Family’s philanthropic activities – outside Nepal and the Kadoorie Farm in Hong Kong – with which most are familiar. The main conduit for this funding is through the Kadoorie Charitable Foundation (KCF) – of which I am the Director – supplemented by the family’s own personal funding. This account is written of my travels in 2015 – but with a few comments to bring affairs up to date in November 2016.
I commence this travelogue in Bombay in 2015 – where I have visited many times over the last 18 years trying to overcome endemic corruption and restore – at our cost – a school built in the late 19th Century and catering for 1,000 children that bears the Kadoorie name. But everyone wants a slice of the cake – whoever is doing the baking – and I am not sanguine about the outcome! Bombay comes in the middle of a busy six weeks. The last week in August saw me in Bangladesh visiting a livelihoods project – working as we prefer to through women’s self help groups – in the far north of the country at Kurigram. This necessitated an 8 hour drive from Dhaka – which was followed almost immediately by a visit the other end of the country – Chittagong – to see what we can do to help the ship breakers who break up huge container ships and tankers on the beach – and are paid US $ 3 for a 12 hour shift for this extremely dangerous work involving all sorts of toxic waste. We hope to set up a medical facility and provide training for dealing with these dangerous chemicals – a worker died in an explosion during our visit. Two days in Hong Kong and then to Nepal for my second visit this year to catch up with our post earthquake work – constructing very impressive temporary housing in Gorkha District – and looking at the administrative side of the Kadoorie Agricultural Aid Association (KAAA). Al Howard (who served for six years with 6GR) ran KAAA for 4 years having succeeded Bill Smart at the end of 2012. He then relieved William Shuttlewood as Director GWT. Colonel Andrew Mills (Ex – QGE) took over as Director KAAA in April. Andrew and his team are responsible for delivering a community aid programme with an annual budget of approximately GBP 3.5 million, working alongside the Gurkha Welfare Scheme. KAAA (BGN) remains the pillar of the family’s philanthropic heritage and will celebrate its 50th Anniversary in 2018.
During the visit we also opened a new footbridge and water project in Dolpa. The GoN have chosen to celebrate the 6,000th trail-bridge built in Nepal by a ceremony at a new KAAA bridge – a testimony to KAAAs high standards of construction and maintenance.
I also visited the Dhaulagiri Deaf School in Baglung with Maj Yambahadur Gurung (2 GR and the KCF’s Consultant in Nepal for non-KAAA projects – who has been working for us for 15 years) where we are funding the building of a hostel. A most impressive principal – and a well chosen name for the school with stunning views of Dhaulagiri. Then back to Hong Kong for three days in a vain attempt to keep up on the paperwork before flying to the UK to visit a cancer research programme family members are funding, a meeting with the NGO ‘Impact’ with whom we work closely in Nepal and Bangladesh, an exploratory visit to Imperial College (Sir Michael Kadoorie has an honorary doctorate) and lunch with Gen Sir Peter Wall, Chairman of the GWT. All built around our memorable 200th Anniversary Sirmoor Luncheon at the Travellers Club on 12th September – with my next destination being Houston to check up on Michael’s funding of a programme of research into personalised cancer therapy at MD Anderson Cancer Centre. A total of seven scientists to brief me – a struggle to keep up with the jargon and technical data – but I held my own. Accountability is what it is all about ! Then to San Francisco to visit a partner of 11 years standing – the Hesperian Foundation- who publish medical books for use in developing countries – ‘Where there is no Doctor’ , ‘Mother and Child’ etc. hugely impressive books and very simply and clearly illustrated . We pay the cost of translating the books into Nepali, Khmer, Chinese, Laos etc.
And so having travelled around the World – I arrive back in Hong Kong , for three days and an in-house funding meeting before jumping on a flight to Bombay – where I am now. Hopefully we may make progress at today’s meeting – but recent history does not encourage optimism. Either way I take a late night flight tonight transiting through Bangkok and arrive at Chiang Mai tomorrow morning to visit a home for cerebral palsy children that we have been supporting in a modest way – run by a saintly English woman – and then on to another long term project helping the Karen Hill Tribes, near the border with Burma with water, sanitation and livelihoods. A visit to a hospital in Mae Sot which ministers to the significant cross border nomadic Burmese population (we have provided the outpatients block) completes my Thailand visit and then it is off to Vietnam to visit an NGO near Hoi An that looks after Down Syndrome and autistic children.
Much of my time is spent in the back of a 4WD and while we insist on our partners satisfying a safety protocol relating to the vehicle and the driver in reality you just hope that it is not your unlucky day. I have probably been very lucky to have been involved in only one fatal accident in 18 years (in Burma) – and happily survived to tell the tale.
We have between 70-90 projects under funding at any one time focused on livelihoods, healthcare and education. Half of these are in China, with the others being in Nepal, Burma, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam , and a few nominal projects in Israel and in the West Bank – which I visit every 3 years or so. The key to good philanthropy is not so much in the ‘giving’ as the implementation, and the only way to ensure that our funding is being used for the correct purpose is to visit our funding partners – before , during and after funding. It is for this reason that my passports (I have two) are so well stamped! I am assisted by three others in our team who make field visits and it is not uncommon to find us all travelling at the same time.
Reviewing this in 2016, last year was a very busy year, made more exciting by the celebrations surrounding the 200th Anniversary of the Sirmoor Rifles and ‘G 200’! Jai Sirmoor